By Suzie McKig, Co-owner of Twig & Fig
It all started when Twig launched her own graphic design firm in LA. Meanwhile, Fig was heading up a product design company in Montreal. The stars aligned when Twig ordered a product from Fig’s company and, despite the 3,000 miles between them, true love ensued and a beautiful business partnership was born.
I’m the “Twig” in that story. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the do’s and don’ts of running a small business with your significant other. With that said, here are my three best tips on how to keep the love burning and your online business churning when your soul mate and business partner are one and the same.
Divide and Conquer Together
It’s important to define who will be the boss of each “department” of your business. Otherwise, it’s like having too many chefs in the kitchen.
Start by assessing one another’s strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Then pick a fair distribution of who is going to own what. Only one of you should be in charge of each area, and the other should support, if needed. Of course, you should both make major decisions together. But for the daily grind, it helps to compartmentalize.
Business in the Front, And in the Back
It’s kind of like a voluntary split-personality, but it really helps to have two relationships with your partner.
At first, it might feel strange to be all business with your significant other, but you’ll definitely find it to be a relationship-saver. When my husband and I walk to work, we typically hold hands the whole way, and then instinctively drop hands about 20 feet before going into the shop. It’s important to keep the PDA to a minimum and leave your personal business at home, especially if you have employees.
Write your Business Vows Together
It’s important to define what each of you envisions for the business as individuals. Sharing your unique visions with each other will help you to determine if you really are destined to be business partners.
One, five, or 10 years down the road might seem like an eternity. But doing business with your significant other means you will both care about its success more than an average business partner would. Both of your futures are tied to the success of your business and to one another. There’s a lot at stake.
Designate a specific time to discuss one another’s ambitions and goals (both short-term and long-term), your passions, your fears and your concerns. Start with where you see your business headed, its creative goals, its business goals, and the amount of blood, sweat and tears you each are willing to devote to making those goals happen. There will be agreements, disagreements and compromises. Writing your business vows together is not just helpful for the business. It’s also a sign of respect for the personal relationship you’ve already worked so hard to fuel and maintain.
We at Endicia would like to extend a big thank you to Suzie for shedding some light on how to operate a business smoothly with your significant other. But what happens when you’re running a business with your entire family? Check out this blog post to find out how a 10-member family learned how to work together to turn a hobby into a thriving ecommerce business.